Stem cells must be deaf to hear again
Friday, April 3, 2009
British scientists are currently working on a technique in which human stem cells from highly complex hair cells can be made, together with the neurons that are also needed to hear. According to the Sunday Telegraph this opens the possibility that the main form of deafness in this way can be contested.
Approximately 90 percent of people who can not hear, suffers from hearing loss sensorineuraal so far can only be treated through implants that can help but not fully respond to. Now, researchers at the University of Sheffield found a method to the patients in this dysfunctional hair cells and neurons to replace the use of stem cells.
That hair cells play a crucial role in our hearing because they convert sound into electrical impulses that are sent to the brains. That happens because tiny "hairs" on the cell, when a sound wave passes by.
Investigator Dr Marcelo Rivolta says "the hair cells and neurons that enable us to hear, are produced during embryonic life. If they later become corrupted, they can therefore not be restored so far. That would be able to use stem cells derived from aborted fetuses. These are by Dr Rivolta and his colleagues in the laboratory and grown into its cells.
Currently, tests conducted on animals in Sheffield and Dr. Rivlota warns that even ten years before a transplant of those cells modified common good. But in the meantime, he says, "our study provides useful data already on the evolution of human hearing and the impact of new medicines."